Minutes past 8:30 in the evening I was lying down on the grass listening to Augustana singing live at Wanderland 2015, with clouded thoughts and a heavy heart. I was staring at a blank and dark sky. I was looking for a star. After few glances, I found one, shining brightly up there – as if it was staring back at me. The soothing vocals of Augustana was slowing fading out. I felt a sudden cold breeze blowing onto my face when my phone rang. I didn’t want it to ring. No, not that night. I didn’t want to answer. Because I’m afraid of what I’m about to hear.
Then I started crying and I can’t stop tears from flowing.
You have prepared us months before you took your last breath. We all know it’s just a matter of time, but there can never be enough time to prepare for someone leaving too soon. We didn’t want you to leave. I wanted you to fight. One afternoon, you told me you are ready to go. I felt a ball choking me up in the throat. I wanted to cry and I know you saw my shock. Then you gave out a heavy laugh with your oxygen tubes on. Then I laughed.
It was the hardest 3-4 months of our lives. We had to act strong, though we were all crying inside. We felt the pain, but we chose to smile and to laugh. In between chest and back pains, we found refuge in small laughers while reliving the great life we have lived. While in your chair, with your oxygen mask on, we browsed through old photos trying to remember the funniest stories and the misadventures of our family outings. We shared countless laughers while munching on toasted siopao and Dolora’ palabok. That look in your face, smiling and laughing, even with your mask on – that was unforgettable! Until now, I chose to remember that image of you. Strong, funny and witty, despite everything.
I wasn’t there when you took your last breath. But they told me it was painless – a peaceful one.
Our Tita Mil, she taught us the true meaning of love and faith and compassion and strength. She fought with faith. She lives with love. It’s been a year since you left us. It has also been a year since you found home with the Father.
Next weekend, it’ll be our first family trip to Marinduque without you. Oh, how different it will be without you there thinking of mini games, going with us in the palengke or singing Natural Woman and Power of Love in our videoke sessions. Life will never be the same without you, Tita Mil.
We miss you too much!